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14 Apr
Sun, Apr 14, 2019 at 4:30 pm PT
16 Apr
Tue, Apr 16 at 8:30 pm PT
SFMOMA Phyllis Wattis Theater

Guests Expected

Directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert are expected to attend both screenings.


Working-class anxiety about global trade—perhaps the dominant political anxiety of our time—gets a sophisticated and intimate treatment in master documentarians Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s newest film. Chinese company Fuyao, a manufacturer of glass for cars, moves into a defunct GM plant in Dayton, Ohio, providing jobs and hope to a town that had been hit hard by the recession. Focusing on daily life in the plant, the film masterfully exposes a truly “lost in translation” moment as Chinese and American workforces both mix and collide, with humor and friction in abundance.

“Both intimate and epic, American Factory offers a remarkably candid, fly-on-the-wall account of what transpired over the following three years between top management and toiling workers, Americans and Chinese, all working together, for better and for worse. It’s a deceptively lighthearted look at one of the most significant cultural and economic conflicts of our times.” – Anthony Kaufman, Screen Daily

Co-director Stephen Bognar

Stephen Bognar has worn a variety of hats as a filmmaker: director, producer, writer, cinematographer, editor, and sound recorder. He made his directing debut with Personal Belongings, winner of a Festival Golden Gate Award in 1996. He first teamed with Julia Reichert for A Lion in the House (2006), winning a Primetime Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking. Their next collaboration, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant (2009), received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short.

Co-director Julia Reichert

Julia Reichert made her directing debut in 1971 with the documentary Growing Up Female. That film, which was her senior project at Antioch College, is now in the National Film Preservation Board’s National Film Registry. Her films Union Maid (1976) and Seeing Red (1983) were nominated Best Documentary Feature Academy Awards. She is a professor of film production at Wright State University in Dayton, OH; co-founded the distribution co-op, New Day Films; and was one of the founders of the Independent Feature Project.

Film Details

Year 2019

Language English, Mandarin

Runtime 110

Country USA

Director Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert

Producer Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert, Julie Parker Benello

Editor Lindsay Utz

Cinematographer Steven Bognar, Aubrey Keith, Jeff Reichert, Julia Reichert, Erick Stoll

Music Chad Cannon